Sunday, April 29, 2007

Would Someone Please Rein In Ivy Tech?

Ivy Tech learned long ago that it wasn't going to get its way with the legislature on the merits of its performance so the school, instead, uses our tax dollars to reward key legislators with plum jobs. The school was no doubt calling in its chits this past week when Democratic lawmakers attempted to slip into a conference committee bill a provision which would have required an equal split in Democratic and Republican appointments to the school's board. Recall that the school's board thwarted Gov. Daniels wishes by tossing out the application for the president's job of Carol D'Amico, the school's vice president, in favor of businessman Tom Snyder, who lacks any prior higher education experience. As the Star's Mary Beth Schneider reports:

Politics and lingering furor over the selection of a new president for Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana came close to upsetting delicate state budget negotiations Saturday.

Gov. Mitch Daniels was angered to discover that a provision inserted into one draft of the proposed budget would have forced him to appoint equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans to the college's 14-member board of trustees. No
similar stricture applies to any Indiana university.

Saturday morning, Neil Pickett, a top Daniels aide, said the governor would veto the budget unless the provision was stripped out.

Soon after, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Crawford, D-Indianapolis, said the measure had been removed much earlier.

The Ivy Tech board has become politically sensitive since it voted recently not to appoint Daniels' preferred candidate, Carol D'Amico, as the new president of the community college. Crawford is on the Ivy Tech payroll, as is House Speaker B. Patrick Bauer, D-South Bend. Crawford is manager of community relations and outreach programs, while Bauer is vice president of external partnerships.

The provision would have required that no more than 55 percent of the 14-member board be of one political party. That would have meant that the board would have to be split with seven Democrats and seven Republicans, because even an 8-6 split would exceed 55 percent.

Daniels has appointed nine members of the board of trustees and soon will have six other appointments to make as the terms of people appointed by Democratic governors expire. If the measure had stayed in, that would have meant Daniels would have had to appoint Democrats to achieve political balance.

Could Speaker Bauer and Rep. Crawford have been concerned that a Board dominated by Daniels' appointees might question the wisdom of the school serving as a job-entitlement provider for key Indiana lawmakers? By way of the Indiana Law Blog, we would note this new item on Mary Beth Schneider's online Star story. "The outgoing Ivy Tech president, Gerald Lamkin, has been at Bauer’s office throughout much of the final hours of the session." And why would the outgoing president have a need to be in Bauer's office this afternoon pray tell me? In addition to Bauer and Crawford, the school has also provided jobs to former Senate President Pro Tempore Bob Garton (R) and Rep. Craig Fry (D).

Pouring more salt in the wounds, Ruth Holladay blogged this week about some not-so-nice parting words at a going away party for retiring Ivy Tech President Gerald Lamkin made by none other than Lamkin and his wife. Holladay wrote:

Mrs. Lampkin took the stage first, proclaiming that "no outsider" is going to shake up the Ivy Tech family.

Then, Lampkin himself made his speech, saying, "Only a Hoosier can run our Ivy Tech. And I'm god damned proud to be a Hoosier."

Some of us thought Carol D'Amico was a Hoosier, too. Born in Canada, she moved to New Castle with her family when she was growing up and received degrees from Ball State University and Indiana University.

With this kind of thinking, it's no wonder Ivy Tech's performance under Lamkin was so dismal. Holladay reports Snyder plans to stay in his new position no more than 2 years. Quoting from a recent IBJ story on the school's performance, Holladay said, "Given Ivy Tech's dismal graduation rate, reported by the Indianapolis Business Journal on Saturday -- 15 percent in some on some of its campuses -- no wonder he's already thinking of an exit strategy."

Holladay also repeated the charge of D'Amico that she was deliberately overlooked for the job as president because she's a woman and because she wasn't up to the job because her husband suffered from Parkinson's disease. Holladay wrote, "Meanwhile, she's continuing to work out the details of her settlement with the Ivy Tech system -- a severance package strengthened by two big concerns: that higher-ups at Ivy Tech (including Lampkin) had vowed that a woman would never run the system, and that Carol herself couldn't do the job because her husband is crippled." "He has Parkinson's which has nothing to do with D'Amico's qualifications whatsoever." Although the Americans with Disabilities Act might see a connection between such a comment and discrimination."


Anonymous said...

I'm at the Statehouse now. The Ivy Tech language is still in the budget. The Star has updated their story online - they assumed that when Crawford said he removed it that he actually removed it. But he didn't.

Blog Me, Please! said...

I have not heard how the final budget and related bills came out, with regard to this story.

Update, Gary, or bloggers, if you know?

As for someone reigning in Ivy's an institution out of control, and Carol D'Amico was in effect its COO for the last several years. She earned, by my account, over a million smackeroos in wages and related benefits, that we KNOW of.

I posted here earlier about my child's 2006 summer class at IT, which we were led to believe would transfer 100% to Purdue. It was a (difficult) math class she needed for her degree. She got back to Purdue in the fall, talked to her counselor, and guess what? The course did not transfer. The reason?

"Lack of academic rigor," was the official reason.

I'm out several hundred dollars...she had to take the class in the middle of the day M-W-F, so she wasn't able to keep the summer job she'd had the prior summer, and she lost out on a lot of potential income. Which we need since Purdue has raised its fees and room and baord a whopping 16% in the two years she's been there.

I wrote my senator (Patricia Miller) and representative (Buell, I think) to ask about this, and got back form letters praising Ivy Tech.

Carol and anyone remotely associated with accountability at this cash cow, needed to go.

So do Bauer, Crawford, etc., and former Sen. Garton. How they can look at themselves in the mirror, take these huge salaries, then vote on the budget that funds those salaries, is a huge question.

A bigger question is why no one else narcs them out for this hypocracy.

Anonymous said...

blog me, please!, come on. People need to start taking responsibility for their own education. You and your daughter should know just by looking at course descriptions that certain classes may not transfer as what is needed. If you need Calculus to complete your math requirement at Purdue, and you take Functional Math at Ivy Tech, you know it will not transfer as Calculus. Take responsibility. Whichever math class your daughter took, she had to test into. Don't be mad at Ivy Tech because she was not proficient enough to take Calculus. Quit blaming. As for being out "several" hundred dollars. Again, I say please. How about being out about a thousand dollars when your daughter failed her math class at Purdue because she was not prepared for it?

Ivy Tech is great for the state. Ivy Tech is a great alternative for the first 2 years of college at about half the price of 4-year institutions. Ivy Tech does have some growing pains to get through, but they will get through them. I believe Tom Snyder is just the man to get Ivy Tech through the growing pains. Carol D'amico was only here to pad her resume. She was going to be out the door as soon as she had some viable numbers to put on her resume. She brought Ivy Tech down. Mr. Snyder, even before he is officially here, has elevated the college. His ideas are exactly what Ivy Tech needs.